MF Exhibitions

Winifred Lutz

January 1, 1997
By the time Winifred Lutz began work on her permanent garden installation in 1993, she had already studied the site for five years. She used the information she had uncovered--both historical and physical--to design a garden that responded to and incorporated the history and attributes of the site, including the foundation of a paper factory that had burned to the ground many years ago.

The three-quarters of an acre adjacent to 500 Sampsonia Way is a living work. In the area known as the Private Prairie, an enclosure for a single chair is surrounded by tall grass. A trellis, made from huge wooden beams, acts as an entryway from the parking area. Water flowing through a concrete trough splashes and gurgles. Large stones, individually selected from a western Pennsylvania quarry, dot the landscape. Cast-cement apertures in the brick and stone walls frame specific views.

Twisted rebar railings descend ten feet below ground level to a cement basin filled with water. Water emerges from the brick retaining wall and flows back into the stone beneath the viewfinder in the boundary wall. It is diverted to fall into a basin in the basement stairwell, cooling the space and intensifying its privacy with a screen of sound.

Birds are attracted to the urban garden by indigenous wildflowers as well as newly planted trees of species which would have grown on that site long before buildings were erected there.
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